Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary on The Best Of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary on The Best Of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

Ultimate 2-Day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island is designed to give you a comprehensive guide to maximising your experiences to the historic city of Hiroshima. Although there are more than one way to experience the city and the island, this guide is more of a DIY itinerary for mature adventurers to explore the main landmarks at their own pace, combining it with cultural activities to suit for a memorable visit that will last a lifetime.

A visit to Hiroshima inevitably includes a trip to the spiritual island of Miyajima. Here is a little background to Hiroshima and the Island as well.

About Hiroshima City on a 2-day itinerary

Hiroshima is a vibrant modern city, having risen from its ashes of the past. It is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, located in the southwest of Japan’s Honshu Island. The City’s natural beauty can be seen in its impressive Chugoku Mountains to the north and the clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea in the south. GPS for Hiroshima is as follows:

Latitude: 34° 23′ 60.00″ N
Longitude: 132° 26′ 60.00″ E

Hiroshima is a tourist destination

You can Hiroshima like a Local in a city where, every year, thousands of tourists make their way to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Memorial Park stands as a grim reminder of war and a focus for prayers for world peace. Whilst this should be a “must do” itinerary for any visitor, a carefully planned itinerary will allow you to experience not just the historic sites but also the City’s culture, food and nightlife.

About Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima and is easily accessible (see below on accessibility). The island is regarded sacred where the locals regard the people and the gods live together. Home to the popular floating Torii gate and the infamous Mount Misen which is associated with a legend of miracle. According to the legend, a fire lit by a Buddhist monk, Kobo Daishi. have been burning for almost 1200 years.

Home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima. One is the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the other is the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island. The Atomic Bomb Dome is an iconic structure as it was only a few meters away from the atomic bomb blast. It is symbolic as the beacon for world peace and an end to nuclear weapons.

The Ultimate 2-day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

I spent 2 days at Hiroshima and wished that I had spent more. This beautiful city has so much to offer every visitor right from food, sake and sights. If you have the time, try and spend 3 to 4 days. I assure you, you will have plenty to do! My ultimate 2-day itinerary to the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island is listed below. I had so little time and so much to see and do! Come along with me and see what I got up to.

Day 1 of 2-day itinerary on Hiroshima & Miyajima Island/Itsukushima

Start your day as early as you can on Day 1. Make your way to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. There are more than one way to get to Hiroshima City.

Read next >>More than one way to get to Hiroshima City.

1 | The Atomic Bomb Dome

Hiroshima City: Atomic Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hiroshima City: Atomic Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | Image: georgina_daniel

The first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 on the morning of August 6th 1945. The building shows the ferocity of the explosion. The skeletal remains of what used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall stands as a grim reminder of that fateful day. There is a sense of sadness here but the City of Hiroshima has come a long way away from the destruction. Today, the Dome stands as a symbol of Hiroshima and as a focus for world peace.

2 | Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims

Hiroshima City: Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace.
Hiroshima City: Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace | Image: georgina_daniel

The large concrete in the shape of a saddle holds 290,000 names of all those who lost their lives when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. New names are added each year as they are discovered.

3 | Flame of Peace in Hiroshima City

The pedestal that houses the Flame of Peace is designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the palms facing the sky.The Flame was lit on 1st August 1964, for a world without nuclear weapons, and will continue to burn until all nuclear weapons are abolished worldwide.

4 | Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima City

Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima City, Hiroshima
Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima City, Hiroshima | Image: georgina_daniel

The Children’s Peace Monument was constructed in memory of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to the radiation of the bomb at the age of 2. She died of leukaemia about ten years later.

5 | Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: The Museum was built in the pursuit of world peace
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: The Museum was built in the pursuit of world peace | Image: georgina_daniel

The Museum was built in pursuit of world peace and a world without nuclear weapons. It was opened in 1955 and conveys the realities of the atomic bomb. The exhibits here will truly touch your soul to say the least – clothing, watches, pictures – all tell the stories of the sufferings of ordinary human lives.

6 | Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall

Hiroshima City: Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall-note the roof designed in the shape of 8:15
Hiroshima City: Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall-note the roof designed in the shape of 8:15 | Image: georgina_daniel

. It is a building dedicated to mourning, the victims of the atomic bomb and to focus on prayers for world peace. It’s structure is designed to reflect 8:15 a.m., the time when the atomic bomb was dropped.

7 | Aioi Bridge in Hiroshima City

Hiroshima City: View of the Aioi Bridge and the Atomic Bomb Dome from the Memorial Park
Hiroshima City: View of the Aioi Bridge and the Atomic Bomb Dome from the Memorial Park | Image: georgina_daniel

The Aioi Bridge was a unique structure in the shape of T and became the target point for the atomic bomb in 1945. The current bridge was built in 1983 and the old pillars bearing the marks of the bombing still preserved at the foot of the bridge.

8 | Explore the City of Hiroshima

Hiroshima Hondori in Hiroshima City
Hiroshima Hondori in Hiroshima City | Image: georgina_daniel

Walk along the City’s shops to get a feel of the town and its people. Hiroshima Hondori is a covered area with all sorts of shops, fashion, restaurants and souvenir shops.

9 | Food and drink experiences in Hiroshima City

Okonomiyaki and oysters in Hiroshima
Okonomiyaki and oysters in Hiroshima | Image: georgina_daniel

There is no better way to get to know a culture than through its food. Hiroshima is popular for its Sake and Okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is regarded as Hiroshima’s Soul Food and it is really something that you ought to try. Its soft pancake is filled with a choice of seafood or meat and its cooked right in front of you. For a soulful experience of Hiroshima food culture, you could do a Foodie Tour and/or a Bar Hopping Food tour. Both experiences gives you a flavour of Hiroshima’s food and drink culture.

Read >> Hiroshima Soul Food

Getting to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima

Getting to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima could not be easier. There are two ways to get to Miyajima Island from Hiroshima via ferry rides.

Firstly, there is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima. The journey takes ten-minutes from Miyajimaguchi Pier (see below for information on How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima). Secondly, there is also the longer route which takes about forty-five-minutes – World Heritage Sea Route by Aqua Net ferry. The World Heritage Sea Route takes off from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima.

Day 2 of 2-day itinerary on Hiroshima and Miyajima Island

Arriving in Miyajima via either of the options above and you will be met with well posted signage to various attractions on the island. All attractions are within walking distance except the mountains. You can opt for a private tour of the island by rickshaw if you prefer. You can discover more on the history of the island and Hiroshima as these two are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The following are my recommended unmissable experiences.

1 | The Itsukushima Shrine and the floating torii gate at Miyajima Island

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island, Hiroshima
Miyajima Island: Itsukushima Shrine at low tide.

The Itsukushima Shrine is an iconic shrine and is regarded as one of the “Three Views of Japan” along with Matsushimo Island and Amanohashidate, chosen by a 15th century scholar, Nihon Sankei. It is the only shrine in the world that is built on water and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Miyajima Island: Visitors walk-up to the giant torii gate to have an up-close and personal look at this amazing structure.
Miyajima Island: Visitors walk-up to the giant torii gate to have an up-close and personal look at this amazing structure | Image; georgina_daniel
Floating torii gate at Miyajiam Island
Floating torii gate at Miyajiam Island, Hiroshima

The floating torii gate is one to be seen to be believed. An amazing craftmanship of six pillars which are not buried in the seabed. It is 16 meters tall and weighs 60 tons. The thickness of the giant legs is astounding as is the remarkable craftmanship and engineering involved to ensure the structure stays balanced in water. The two huge legs or pillars is made from 600-year-old Camphor trees. The pillars are weighted down by their own weight and tons of stones inscribed with Buddhist sutras are inserted into the loop of the cross beams that form the roof of the gate.

3 | Mount Misen in Miyajima Island

Islands dotted on Seto Inland Sea-one of the many views during my hike up Mount Misen, Miyajima Island
Islands dotted on Seto Inland Sea-one of the many views during my hike up Mount Misen, Miyajima Island

Mount Misen sits in the centre of Miyajima Island at 535m above sea level and is the highest peak in Miyajima. Mount Misen is a Must visit destination when you are in Miyajima. The mountains have a powerful effect on people and is a popular hotspot of spiritual energy. It offers amazing scenery which makes it a place hard to forget. I can assure you, you will speak of your experiences here for many times with friends and family.

4 | Reikado Hall in Mount Misen, Miyajima Island

Mount Misen, Miyajima Island: The kettle above the fire that has been burning for 1200 years. Water from this kettle is said to cure illnesses.
Mount Misen, Miyajima Island: The kettle above the fire that has been burning for 1200 years. Water from this kettle is said to cure illnesses.

About 1200 years ago, the fire in the Reikado Hall was lit by Kobo Daishi, a Buddhist monk as part of his religious training. It has been burning ever since. Nothing short of a miracle, one would say! This legend of miracle goes further – a pot of water is placed above the fire and legend has it that if you drink the boiled water, you will be cured of your illnesses. The very same fire that has been burning for 1200 years was used to light the flame at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

5 | Misen Hondo Hall

Mount Misen, Miyajima Island: Misen Hondo (Misen Main Temple), a training site used by Kobo Daishi.
Mount Misen, Miyajima Island: Misen Hondo (Misen Main Temple), a training site used by Kobo Daishi | Image: georgina_daniel

This is a holy hall built on the former training site used by Kobo Daishi. You will find this on Mount Misen, near to Reikado Hall.

6 | Main Street in Miyajima Island and foodie experience

Covered walkways in the Omotesando, Miyajima Island
Covered walkways in the Omotesando, Miyajima Island, home to many bars, restaurants, street food stalls and souvenir shops.

The main street in Miyajima Island is a market street like many others in Japan. It is 350-meter long and is dedicated to restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. It is the busiest place in the Island.

The main street offers so many choices for you – try the island’s specialities:

i | Momiji Manju

Maple-shaped Momiji-manju cakes which is a speciality to this island
Maple-shaped Momiji-manju cakes which is a speciality to Miyajima Island

The Momiji-manju are cakes shaped like maple leaf and is filled with red sweet bean (anko). There are also other varieties such as custard fillings. These Momiji-manju are found all over the island and in the shops along the main street. These cakes are made fresh and you could try them while they are warm and delicious.

ii | Yaki gaki

Yaki-gaki-grilled oysters. Open-air street food which you will find at every corner of high street in this Island.
Yaki-gaki-grilled oysters. Open-air street food which you will find at every corner of high street in this Island.

Yaki-gaki is a signature dish of Miyajima Island. You can feel the smoky air of the grilled oysters as you walk along the main street. The oysters are grilled to perfection within minutes for you. Yaki gaki is a staple dish for the local fisherman and popular amongst tourists.

7 | Five stories Pagoda – Gojunoto

Gojunoto, 5 stories pagoda on Miyajima Island
Incredible architecture of Gojunoto. five-storied pagoda in Miyajima Island, Hiroshima | Image: georgina_daniel

Renowned for its incredible architecture, this five storied pagoda is remarkable from every angle. Originally constructed in 1407, it was restored in 1533. The pagoda reflects Japanese style with Chinese influence.

8 | Sunset over Itsukushima shrine

itsukushima.shrine.2miyajima
Sunset over the floating torii, Itsukushima shire, Miyajima Island, Hiroshima
Sunset at Miyajima Island.
Sunset at Miyajima Island. Find a spot where you can watch the sunset with the torii gate in view.

No matter how busy a schedule you have, i strongly recommend setting aside some time to watch the sunset and just enjoy the island before the last ferry leaves the island.

Practical information for ultimate 2-day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

1 | Getting to Miyajima from Hiroshima

There are 2 options to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima.

1 | Aqua Net ferry from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima-World Heritage Sea Route (45 minutes)

2 | Railway Route: Miyajima Pier to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (Atomic Bomb Dome) or vice versa

Conclusion

The experiences listed above are my recommendations for an Ultimate 2-Day itinerary on the best of Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. You can fit in more activities or less to suit your schedule and to maximise your experiences to the historic city of Hiroshima. As I mentioned in the introduction, there are more than one way to experience the city and the island, and this guide is more of a DIY itinerary for mature adventurers to explore the main landmarks at their own pace, combining it with cultural activities to suit for a memorable visit that will last a lifetime.

When planning your trip, here is a simple guide to When is the best time to visit Japan

As travellers, our wellbeing is important. With this in mind and to maximise your travel experience, take a look at the 6-steps to planning and booking your trip for a stress free vacation.

Now it’s your turn 🙂 Was this post valuable to you as an aid towards planning your trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island? If so, let me know in comments below or via the Contact Form – I would love to hear from you. Contact me also if I could help you with your itinerary for Hiroshima or Japan generally.


Have a splendid time exploring, discovering and experiencing this historic city and magical island.

February 2021, Update

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